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The Airline Industry Blasts New Wave of ‘Performative’ Pandemic Restrictions On Travellers From China

The Airline Industry Blasts New Wave of ‘Performative’ Pandemic Restrictions On Travellers From China

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA), an airline industry trade organisation that represents around 300 airlines around the world, has blasted a new wave of ‘performative’ pandemic restrictions that are targeting travellers from mainland China, as well as Hong Kong and Macau.

The restrictions, including new testing rules imposed by the United States and passenger caps introduced by the likes of Japan, have been hastily drawn up as a reaction to China’s surging Covid case numbers in scenes reminiscent of early 2020.

But a growing number of experts have rejected calls for pandemic border restrictions, with the airline industry citing a Canadian Infectious Diseases physician and scientist who claims such measures are “performative at best”.

The University of Toronto’s Dr Isaac Bogoch also claimed the Biden administration’s new border restrictions on travellers from mainland China will not “will not stop the introduction of variants”.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is, however, said to be seriously considering one of Dr Bogoch’s suggestions that he claims would work – sampling airplane waste tank water to detect new variants of concern.

Throughout the pandemic, IATA has suggested a light-touch approach to restrictions and has consistently lobbied governments to lift barriers to travel at the earliest opportunity.

“Governments need to learn from the lessons and experience of the last three years,” the trade organisation said on Friday. “Travel restrictions or testing requirements have been ineffective throughout the pandemic,” the statement continued. “Listen to the experts.”

Along with the United States and Japan, a slew of other countries have imposed various restrictions and testing rules on travellers from China, including Maylasia, India, and South Korea.

Italy has imposed its own restrictions and implored the European Union to reintroduce continent-wide rules. On Thursday, however, the EU officials rejected those demands. Both France and Germany are said to have been the driving force behind the decision, but Spain unilaterally chose to reimpose some restrictions following the vote.

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